North Idaho Child Porn Case Could Have Hundreds Of Victims

Jul 7, 2017

Northern Idaho investigators say there may be hundreds of victims linked with a child pornography case recently uncovered.

Investigators found about 24,000 images of children, some who were naked, on the electronic devices of Jason McGovern of Hayden, the Coeur d'Alene Press reported. Investigator Paul Farina with the state's Internet Crimes Against Children Unit said it is the among the largest child porn cases he has handled in his six years working on similar cases.

"We found so many images that it crashed my computer," he said.

McGovern, 41, was arrested June 21 and charged with 10 counts of child porn. Each charge could carry a 10-year prison sentence.

The Kootenai County Public Defender's Office didn't return a call from The Associated Press on Thursday.
The unit began investigating the case after they received a report from the mother of a 12-year-old New Jersey girl who said that her daughter had been sending photos to a person under the alias R.J. or Robert James and formed an online relationship with him. Police later identified R.J. as McGovern. He told law enforcement he contacted the girl using that screen name.

"They were communicating on the social networking app Yellow and text messaging," Farina said. "He was grooming her, posting as a 14-year-old, and she fell for him."

McGovern never had physical contact with her, he added.

McGovern is a registered sex offender who was convicted of child pornography in 2010, according to the report.

McGovern's next hearing is scheduled for July 11.

Investigators are not sure how many victims in the case are local. With a high number of victims involved, the unit is planning to work with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to help identify the victims.

The unit is also asking the victims to contact them.